Heads of IT departments are keenly aware that the top IT job is increasingly withholding the CIO title, and the top IT executive is commonly reporting to non-traditional executives such as the CTO, COO, and even the Head of HR (CPO). I think the only variation I have not yet seen is IT reporting to Sales; every other variation seems to be in play.
So what’s going on? To answer the question without getting into a lot of complexity, the driver of this disruption to the CIO role is the digital transformation (DX). InfoWorld published a good article back in June of 2016 to help explain what the digital transformation is; the article is still relevant today. All IT executives who I interact with are adapting to an increasingly decentralized technology situation at their companies, and working feverishly to add value like the InfoWorld article suggests.
The implications of the digital transformation can be summarized like this for CIOs. The more your company’s product is based upon technology, the more involved you will need to be in the revenue stream to retain the CIO title and classic CIO responsibilities. For those IT leaders who have a role that is not involved in the revenue stream, it is more likely your title will not contain the CIO label and your responsibilities will tend to be more heavily focused on traditional infrastructure-type responsibilities than before.
There's plenty of exceptions in the industry that don't conform to the continuum as described, but one thing is very clear: It's a great time to be a CIO, and whether you have the CIO label or not, it's imperative that you simplify IT, and persistently integrate IT and security functions across the business. If you are successful in doing these things, you will have bandwidth to innovate and contribute to revenue and that is what the company needs most. The CEO wants IT leaders to produce value for the company.